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Garbage Warrior

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For 35 years architect Michael Reynolds has been experimenting with radically sustainable living in New Mexico's desert... he believes that progress evolves through making mistakes... but not everyone sees it his way. I feel like I'm in a herd of buffalo and they are all stampeding toward thousand foot drop off, and they are just running over the edge. And I'm in that herd. And I'm like: "I'm not going there. I'm not going down that way." So I have to somehow affect the whole herd so that they will take a left turn or right turn and not go off this edge. And so if humanity takes the planet down the tubes, I'm dead! I'm trying to save my ass. And that is a powerfull force. GARBAGE WARRIOR Wonderful, inventive,... unique person, who lookes at life in a different way for the most people. He is always full of ideas. - Chris, Mike�s wife - In fact when Mike becomes quiet, we know that there is an idea hatching. Ahead of his time, unusual, likes to do things his own way, stubborn. I was raised as a baptist, no dancing, no drinking, no gambling. So I got the hell out of Dodge! I went to architectural school in the university of Cincinnati, took all the architectural courses, got my degree and I began right then to think that architecture as it stood then was worthless. Had nothing to do with the planet, had barelly to do anything with the people, and what they needed. I love to draw, I love to build. But the profession of architecture is nowhere near addressing the issues that we are faced with. They have the opportunity to really guide us and take us to where we need to go and they are not. They are taking us where we don�t need to go. We are running out of oil, we are running out of water... We have global warming. The population is expanding. For many reasons, we don�t have time. We need to be doing something now, tomorrow morning. Figured your black water under control? - "Yeah!" - All right. Is that working like we wanted it to? I do like three on each of these tops... I started all this thinking with quality of life in mind. We are talking about survival now! It�s all good. So it�s 24,5 with no sun and power being used. That�s the final overflow that just goes to the septic of this. But the final overflow for all the planners... Yes, straight to the septic. We know that in the future we are rendering this planet damn near uninhabitable. So as we move closer toward that, we are trying to devise a method of living that allows people to take care of themselves. The F�nix There is nothing coming into this house! No powerlines, no gas lines, no sewage lines going out, no water lines coming in. No energy being used. We are setting on 6 000 gallons of water, food growing, sewage internalized, 70 degree spaced all year round. What this kind of houses are doing, is taking every aspect of your life and putting it into your own hands. A family of 4 could totally survive here without even going to the store. So that whole area is going to be fruit production, with birds and insects flying around. Then out here it�s going to be goats, chickens and ducks. So this will be literally, an amazon jungle... with 20 foot tall trees and little platforms up there where you can hang out with trees, birds, parrots, canaries, you know, bugs, bees, butterflies... It's a direction for humanity, really. I've been doing it for 30 years and I think I'm starting to scratch the surface of what is available in this goldmine, that we are starting to penetrate. Solar 1019, the worlds powerful solar radio station... Mikes biggest obsession is work. Definatelly work. And I wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, and there is Mike lying there. Staring into space... I'm always dreaming about a room, that I'm working on, or whatever. I was sleeping, I had a dream... And I saw this seashell type shape that you would walk into... But then I took the sketch to Ted and told him, I just dreamed this Ted. And here is what I'm trying to get, and I made pictures and everything... And then we talked about how to do it and Ted made it happen. And I take my dreams done, and I make my dreams happen. And it becomes their dreams too. And the bottles, they are jewels, you know. This is garbage. And it comes out like stain glass jewels. My dad saved everything. Mayonnaise jars, milk cartons, keys; he saved everything in the basement. And you go down there and every mayonnaise jar that we'd ever used was down there. He didn't know what to do with them. He didn't really have uses for them; he just said, that's too good to throw away. Thumb House, built 1972 This is the first house built out of beer cans. It's called the Thumb House, because it looks like a thumb. So it's actually in a good condition, as any the ones after it. There you can see... that's the beer can building blocks right there. We made houses with bricks in my world. So I made a brick out of cans! Wired together with little pieces of foil for reflectors. I built two or three houses this way and went on to just using cans by themselves. It's a solid wall, 35 years later. First hint of the beginning of orienting windows to the south. I was just getting aware of the fact, that you can get some solar gain into a room by doing this. From doing what I've been doing as long as I have... Seeing that cities are real close to dying or falling apart because of the infrastructure failing... There are just dangerous areas of chaos that can't support themselves any longer. So I see them getting abandoned, and I see, beyond that, ... people going back to the cities just to mine out the goods. What else do we have on this planet, that we throw away and we have it in abundance? Tyres! Tyres were resilient and thermal and super strong and didn't take cement and you can built a whole tyre wall with dirt and a shovel and tyres. He is totally obsessed. He is very one pointed, very single minded and has very strong focus for certain things. And we beat the earth into the tyres with sledgehammers. And it was really tight. It was like a compacted 90% brick. In the early 70s they were talking about solar and trying to store thermal mass in houses. And I'm getting a bit of a consciousness of thermal mass. Beating dirt into tyres was mass! Mass holds temperature! And I'm like "Oh, my god." This thermo mass thing is intense. I mean, it's Man, it's powerfull! Thermal mass, once you have established it around you... It doesn't go away. This is the first one that we actually called an "earthship". I needed a house... because I was just getting married to Chris. And here it is 20 years later and we are still living in it, because it works. Very simple, easy to build. Thats all beer cans plastered over. There is no doors, there is no wall. It's basically a series of "U" shaped rooms. All conected with the green house. All of the glass is facing the sun... And the low winter sun comes right in and floods the house. And its's absorbed into the massive walls of the tyres. And just stored there. Just heating wise... There is just no heating bill. There is no heating or cooling bill here. We have a fireplace. We use it on Christmass. Thats it. It's a big deal to get ready for winter here. Because you can die. Because it gets 30 below, even 35 below zero Fahrenheit here. Your tongue can freeze to your lips if you aren't carefull. It gets that cold... And we have been living here almost 20 years with no heating system. That takes a huge bit of stress out of a person, but it also takes it out of the planet. Castle Compound, Taos built 1976 - 1986 This is a compound that we started working on 30 years ago. This is like a little testing site, really. This whole decade of work here was just evolution. You couldn't worry about what it looked like, you just wanted it to work. Then we built a giant wind mill here. Thats being taken off of the building now. And it worked so well... That we had to build a building around it because it was about to take off. It made a huge amount of power. So all of these buildings just represent trial experiments... And a learning situation. That's the first building right there... They call it the grandfather of earthships, because it was the first building that really tried to put it all together. This is the first absolutely off of all grids building that we did, and maybe the first one that was ever done. I mean it's definitely wild shape... Made to take advantage of the wind. This was the first place where I put wind, solar, greenhouse, garbage building... everything together in one building. And this is what it ended up looking like. Everything was intense. Everything about what we were doing, in the buildings, in the life. It was just like absolutely striking intense the whole time. People would come out here and they'd never wanna leave. It was a time of magic. So that I can say. Living in that building... I mean, this is like 25 years ago. I had my own power, I had food growing. I didn't need heat. I was like: "Jesus Christ, I am free, I am absolutely free!" The state of mind that that put you in. You can get up in the morning and you own your life. Well I can do whatever I want, because I don't have to do anything to stay alive. We have the potential to enhance the planet. Trees enhance the planet, though people could go a way further. I see the Earth glowing like a sun just from what people do to it. Just making the Earth sing, like music. Rather then... Shit floating in rivers and chemicals in the air... and stuff like that. I have always thought that if you are doing something right for people... they'll find you. We put it out there in a website, we wrote books that got out there, of course the magazine articles and everything; got out there... and it attracted people that ended up working for us, they became our crew. It's not so much an adoption, it's more like ... a punishment, maybe. Our parasitic relationship, one of the two. Well, whatever it is, we can't get rid of it, so we are all trying to live with it. I found Phil at a bus station crying. I took him in under my wing. And here he is. Look at this drawing... I couldn't built a damn thing from that. Why am I doing this? For money:) Are you gonna get rich doing this? - No! He probably looks at us as sons and we look at him like a stepdad. That you can hang out and party with. And I am always telling Mike... that you are like a freak magnet, he attracts the weirdest people, the weirdest clients. To put the crew together to build a community for themselves... you can't get any better than that. So when we set up this community, we designated 10 acres and they all got their memberships, which turned into actual building lots. Well we all payed the same amount, and we all drew a number out of a hat, and we got the lot that we got. I was so happy to just own a small piece of land, I didn't even know how big it was until we got here. I just knew it went from over there to over there. And I like put my house in the middle of it. It was fair. It was equal. The richer person couldn't afford the better lot, you know? There were people that got in for very very affordable prices. Downpayment less than spending a night out in the town in a fancy restaurant. It was late september when we got out here and the first snow started to fall later that afternoon. I was trained as an architect, and then graduated. And chose to live in a dirt hole and build a house around myself. Pitch my tent, it's windy as fucking hell. And I come home from work and my tent be like blown over... OK, well, fucking fix my tent. Go out into town that evening for 7 or 8 more tyres. It took us about 5 or 6 years to build the first part of it, and then we headed on of course. But you know, we did it on weekends and out of pocket. So in about two months... I had my main "U" walls up, my tent right in the middle blocked from the wind, I was like: This is fucking fantastic. You know what I mean? I was just like. I've got a windblock. We lived on the side in a little tarp structure, at the bottom of the excavation here. Living in dirt, living in uninsulated space... my water would freeze over night. I mean, I didn't have a flash toilet until this february, 11 years later. I was inspired to build my earthship by watching the amazing people around me who were doing it. When they were pounding tyres, and living out of tarp tents, making spaghetti together on rainy nights and playing guitar on upside down barrels for chairs and having bonfires. I had never experienced a bunch of people working that hard. I thought: "This is not a bunch of hippies." I was like, yeah, this occasional hippie that disappeales to you, but I was just like, "This has made so much sense." Their story... of them building their earthships with halfbaked ideas, that weren't as cool as they are now. And doing it themselves, on no money and working for us, trying to make a little money to get by on while they are doing it. ...and that subculture did it. And now they all are sitting there happy as hell. Greater World Comunity, Taos Founded 1990 She doesn't know the difference between... this house and a conventional home, like that I grew up in. But it's just part of her, that the house takes care of her, and supplies power and heats itself and has plants that provide food, and the water comes from the roof; she knows all that, and she thinks that's the way it is... and that's the way everyone needs to think. This used to be my office. It's about 30 years old. And these are the older gallon cresol cans. So we were just using everything. This one was supposed to make you fly like a crow. So we wanted the vision of living this way to take off. But we were in magic then, for sure. For a long time. You know the crew always becomes like a family. We would work together for 4, 5, 6 years and.. another group, they fade out and others would come in. Here in the last decade though, these people ain't going away. The people that are with me now, they've been here 10 years. They say this is their life. And this is my life and so... We are beyond family. We are here, for the duration. You discover gold in your backyard, you have to work to keep it a secret. All of a sudden we are getting requests from all over the coutry and the world... to do earthships, earthship comunities and so on. So then I've got the idea myself. Well I do a community myself; it's a off grid sustainable community. Translate this into cities... Holy shit! I bought the land up at "REACH", to do the Reach community. Because I wanted to really challenge the concept on a slope of a mountain, where no power, water could be gotten, or whatever. We learned the systems at Reach: power, water and sewage. And it was in fact the first New Mexicos sustainable testing site. Reach was succesful. Now I wanted to go further. So I go on the other side of town and I get 650 acres this time. You spend thousands of dollars, in the process of getting land to have a house on. That's ridiculous! Why do not just buy a chunk of land, not make any profit on the land, just have everybody own it in common, and all their money goes straight to their house. We don't need infrastructure. Each one of our buildings has everything it needs, power, water, sewage, right in it. We took thousands of dollars of expenses out of the equation and it worked. Now we have a bunch of people out here no mortgage payment, no utility bill and they are happy and we are ongoing. I'm not saying that I really consciously wanted to use people as guinea pigs. But I was using a life situation as a guinea pig in a sense because it could not worked out for you. People piss and moan if there is a slightest problem, and you learn from that. If they are all complaining about being too hot, or too cold, or not enough electricity, or not enough water, we are gonna learn and we are gonna fix it. Well this is the one, where I had the two storey greenhouse. It originally had a sloped front face on it, which just basically caught too much sun. And it was too hot! Now we had ventilation and everything, but the sun, just the direct winter sun, coming in at a slope, two storeys high, was just too much. Some guy wanted to buy the house, he is a rich kid, who came out here just to be in the wilderness, and said "I pay anything for it" and I said: "OK"... We signed a release that it is an experimental house, and you can buy it. Calls me up like a couple of months later and says: Will you come over, I've got a problem. And he took me in his kitchen; he is a writer... And he had a family typewriter out on the kitchen table, working, and the typewriter was melting! The plastic was just running. I learned that this is powerfull, I wanted to learn to control it. I'm just glad, that I didn't kill anybody, you know, fry a baby or something... It takes clients to develop ideas in building. You can't figure out all your ideas on your own one house, you need many houses to do it on, you can't afford to build many many houses. So you do need clients. And people have take issue with him, because in the early days he did it badly. The houses leaked, they were hot... They looked like they have landed from Mars or another planet. Most of the time you get good clients, that realize it's experimental what you are doing, and some things may not work. Or some things could be better. Then you get the occasional client who thinks, so it's experimental, but everything must work perfectly, because... that's how houses are. And then those people, they are disappointed. And sometimes they sue. When you are doing something like running sewage through the living room and building a building out of garbage, if you really do seriously fuck up; it's ten times as bad. And, you know, if I had a roof leak, it was law suit if I had a smell in the bathroom, it was lawsuit, if I had a house of a 60 degrees rather than 70, it was lawsuit. The powers that be in the architecture world and in the planning world... They just can't see any other way than the way they've got established. And that's how the board of architects basically cramped down his throat, that no, there is only one way to do architectural contracts and if you can't do that, then you can't be an architect. The architects board asked me to bring charges against Mike Reynolds. So everything that he was doing, fell outside the scope what New Mexico would consider legal construction. She said basically, they are gonna nitpick you for the rest of your life, because of what you are doing. Standardized design and construction is so important, because it means safety. I was breaking the rules and laws, right and left, there was no question about it. It's not just the design, but it was actually the building of these earthships that was the problem. That's granted, he wasn't playing by the fucking rules. Rules are made to be broken! I was twisting the law to try to get sustainable housing out there folks! The worst outcome that could've ever been for Mike was he'd loose his licence. And he did. Michael Reynolds surrendered his state architect's license to avoid prosecution from malpractice during the late 1990s. His national license was revoked a year later. Every time we've stuck our head out of the foxhole, we are getting the face shot off! And the County writes me a letter, saying that: "It has come to our attention, that you have developed three communities which may be in violation of one or more of the aformentioned regulations." And here I was, breaking every law in the book, and I said: "Fred Naverres said I could do that". "oh, he's dead"... "Who the fuck are you?" Suddenly, there was a change of planning regime. And within a few weeks time, everything started to go really badly for the company and for the community. They had a big notebook, like this thick, even thicker than this, Reynolds subdivision violations. Subdivision law stated that to convey property you have to have power, water, sewage... you have to have everybody owning their specific piece of land, you have to prove, that you can provide all these utilities to it. You have to put in roads. You have to do all of these super expensive things to qualify as a subdivision. When I was hired to be a planning director in 1995, that was the first charges they gave me, it was to make sure, that everybody lived by the same rules. They didn't put any roadways in, there was no service, no water. They didn't put anything in. And the state legislature at that time just said, ok, enough is enough. We filed 5 subdivision actions at the same time. He came out with his... Code enforcers, with guns on. I mean, they shut us down. November 1997 An injunction was issued to stop the communities from building. Later, the settlements were ruled illegally conveyed, in breach of planning law. So I got busted on building, architecture and subdivision all at the same time. I busted my ass for like 10 years to be an architect. And it was taken away from me. I mean, there is no way thats not gonna shake you up to some extent, in terms of questioning your own competence and abilities and are you doing the right thing? We fired the crew and we were down to two or three people. Job sites were shut down and people that were waiting to build, their permits were denied. Even though the County already cashed their checks. The spirits fell low, the people moved out and it wasn't a lot of work. You felt like the County was disapproving of what you are doing, even though you were trying to do something good for yourself. Even logic failed at that point to some extent, because there were so many things against me I'm looking at it like I've lost my method of livelihood, I've lost my respect, I've lost my credentials. Basically I've lost everything! What do I do? When people ask you what your heroes are the people that infuenced you, impressed you, one of the first ones I would say is Noah, of course. He build a giant wooden boat in the middle of the desert, and there was no sea around and he was building a boat, and they called him a fool, but he saw something coming. He didn't draw for two years. He didn't draw house design, he wasn't able to think about any details or how to improve upon the buildings. He was just occupied by law. Just the atmosphere around the entire company was... everything was in question. At this point I'm assesing my life and my situation. Do I want to spend the next decade proving these people wrong on a ego trip? Or do I wanna, however I can, prove sustainable housing in building! I went in with my tail between my legs and I said, "What do you want me to do?" And they said, "Be a subdivision". To make the Greater world a legal subdivision, Mike had to develop it in phases and then have the County come in and inspect every phase. This is the application for phase 3 and 4 to be a subdivision. We had to provide 14 copies of this. Archeologists had to walk the land and look for arrowheads. That cost 20 000 dollars. And all they did was walk around and pick up arrowheads. Engineers had to engineer the terrain and make diagrams and drawings that nobody ever uses. That was 14000 dollars. Just endless horseshit. We have a person who could not see any bigger than the rule book. And I think that's the issue that we have before us right now on this planet. We've got lots of people who can not see any bigger than the rule book. And beyond the rule book is global warming. The amount of expense and time, I mean... it was years of his life and other peoples. 7 years later, 2004 Taos County Commision It took us seven years to completely get the entire development project. In March 2004, Taos County Commision voted that the community was allowed to continue to build within agreed rules. A specialist engineer had to be contracted so Mike cold continue to build with no licenses. They now see him as a shiny example of how to create a subdivision in Taos County. Jumped through all the humps and became a legal subdivision selling acres of land and lots and building a repetitive little generic house. For a little time I was not exploring, I was not evolving, I was taking what I have learned to that date and keying it to convention, as clearly, and legaly and straightforward as I could, to try and not make any waves, just do something that they could relate to for a few years. And get stable with the powers that be. We lost this ability to dream an idea and do it the next day. We lost the right to experiment. And create new buildings and inovations on the buildings. You've gotta be able to make mistakes. Otherwise you never evolve housing type. And so that's what the rest of the country is. It's still stuck in the same housing that they were in... World War II. or WWI., it's the same exact housing. Everyone is so stressed about getting sued that they can not make a single mistake, so there is no evolution of design. I had lost the freedom to fail. We are facing a future, where we will really gonna, on an individual basis, gonna have to take care of ourselves. New Mexico is the state where they tested the atomic bomb. They designated several thousand acres of land to be just absolutely destroyed with something, that they didn't even know, whether or not it will keep on exploding or not. They took extreme risks, in the interest of national security. So what I'm saying is, can't we make a few hundred acres test sites? With no holes barred, to test methods of living for the future. That's a test site. They are allowed for bombs, they test automobiles, airplanes. They should test housing! At this point, then I begin to realize that we needed a change in law, in legislation to open the door for these kind of things to emerge. This time I wasn't gonna fight the County, this time I was gonna fight the State. Sometimes to fight the system, you have to get into it. Be part of the system. Mike in a suit... is hilarious! I loved it when he put on a suit. I think it's hilarious, I think it's great. He looks like a homeless car salesman. It's fun to see him get up in there. It's like a thumb in the butt of reality right there. I'm not a screamin, flamin hippie trying to badmouth the existing system. I am a part of the system. I had become a trojan horse, I have infiltrated the system, I am the system now. OK senator. - What was that horseshit you were saying there? Don't talk to me that way. I've crawled up their asshole, and I'm gonna change them from the bloodstream. Mike drafts a new law to allow for easier testing of sustainable building. 47th Legislative Session Santa Fe, New Mexico I was walking into an arena that I had no experience and no skills for. It's an extreme bill, it's an extreme thing to give citicens the right to step outside the law for 5 to 10 years. But outside the law is the place where the information lies. And I'm just saying, "Let us go get it." This building is a recipe for illness. Have you got a list of senators you need to talk to this morning? - Yes. I'm just going down the list... Make sure you can get to him, and see if you can talk to him. Totaly love eat the shit out of the whole Judiciary Committee. Get them... try to talk to them, get them the fliers. You really have to demostrate to everybody that you are working within the system. That you are not coming from outside the system. Basically it's gonna be called the sustainable development testing site act. I have to tweak every aspect of my being just to be there. You know... play a game. It's like some kind of a board game and the building is round and you run around in circles ...talking to one person, talking to another person. Trying to get to this meeting, trying to get to that meeting. That's a sewage system in a living room. I'm not asking for money, just permission to test. I understand, it's a regulatory issue. Every kind of a demon or trol or ambush you could possibly imagine was there waiting to devour you and your bill. Senate Judiciary Committee All it takes is one guy coming in here, that you didn't talk to, who has a connection on this Committee. He buggers your bill. One wrong word from the right person, and you never know how your bill died. We take this technology all over the world, and in every country the same problem exists; how do we permit this, this is too unusual. We are asking for what we call test sites. If a person gets an idea, the next morning they could be out there building that idea. It's like a gladiator or something... you have to go out there and fight of all of the people that are trying to ravage your bill for whatever political reason. Defending the legalities of the bill against a bank of lawyers who can double talk me up one side and down the other. How independent is the word independent? It's independent of conventional ... What they got to was picking apart words and meanings,... On page 3, ... line 10... you used the term "real people". How are un-real people defined? There was a tremendous amount of restraint to keep me from splattering people and papers all over the walls of that fucking building. You know there were many times when I wanted to just stand up, turn the desk over and say, "This is a load of horseshit." In the constitution we don't call people "real people", we call them something else. Randall, is there a term other than "real people" for "real people"? The things you say in your definitions; I just think your bill was drafted... very unusually. He is all over it! He doesn't want any of this flowery language. Where is delete, how do I...delete? Then you are gonna physically have to draw a line through it. Your deletions. It will not let me change it. In a dozen different Committees, with 7 or 8 people on each Committee and each one having a little bone to pick about it, we had to just shred the bill piece by piece by piece and deal with everybodies comments on it. Can not be so... include real people... Provision for research... They were making destructive criticisms just to stop it, because they just didn't understand the need for it. The bill drafter, Gary Carlson, was the one who had to piece that all back together. Me again. A thousand word changes, right? - No not thousand. Like 8! He just got tired of seeing it, over and over again. And come back for redraft, redraft, redraft. House Energy and Conservation Committee We haven't even began to think of the ideas. But nodody is going to them, unless they have a forum, in which to do it. What other ideas are out there that you are thinking would be viable, that haven't been tried or tested? They were just trying to get their brains around this bill, so I had to like pull answers out of my ass, rally! Building a building out of water, out of contained water. There are ideas out there, I don't know what the fuck they are. But they are out there, and we want this bill to allow us to find them. Everybody has got an agenda. And so when you talk about going through that many committees, with that many people and all their different agendas and all their different politics involved... This process was laughable! America has the safest, cleanest housing in the world. My concerns will lay to life safety and health issues. I'm not sure how you can exempt them from some rules and regulations and then say at the same time, they are not being violated. And I wouldn't wanna send a piece of legislation that has contradiction and ... It's unclear. I find there is a lot of inconsistent language throughout this bill. Ridiculous amount of human energy mustered and wasted and pissed away to get a tinies little thing done. 6 against 3 The bill has been tabled! Tabled with 4 days left in the session, is a death sentence for the bill. We were out of time. The dream would have been to have an inside connection to this one committee of lawyers Judiciary Committee, we could get advice on how to get through that committee, we would have a chance. It would make it easier for people to choose to develop sustainable methods. How do we know that these aren't just a bunch of hippies getting together set up a some kind of commune and not really doing anything, but just talking the talk and not walking the walk. If this would have take off then the utility companies are somewhat threatened by this, because there are alternatives available to people and they are no longer feeding into a system that obviously is pretty money hungry. So how do you answer that? Actually the utility kit cat electric likes me. Because I can get power to people that they can't, that they just don't have time to deal with and run the lines... So right now it's not a problem. It takes vision, it does. My mom, when I was a little girl, she gave me this card this tiny little cat, that turned into a big lion, so... Think big! You think big and I appreciate that. Thank you very much. I will see what I can do. She is the first one who really tried to understand the bill. If I can persuade her to write a good end analysis of it... It's in, isn't that true? So you know... Now this language here... Structures and systems that inherently produce utilities and life support systems... It's too woowo; we've got to redraft it so that it sounds more credible, more legitimate more in line with conventional thinking. It's a natural entity,... Initiate, lets see that... I think it's 64 with c... Lets see how good she is! She knows where the power is, she doesn't have it, she... stears it and directs it. She went to every representative on that committee no matter where they were, on session or whatever and pitched the bill. I know she worked these people, she worked each person on this committee and won them over one at a time. This is the tale tales end right here. If she comes out with it... polled, we are in. And if she comes out with it not polled, we are out. This is basically it, right here. Now we got Mimi... Gale, Alpart and Bollderros was there too. We've got 4. That woman is fucking amazing! Tyre and Mill. It's pretty good deal in line two. Got out of judiciary 9 to 2. It might just make it! There's not any obstacle left, there's just time now. We were third on the list... on the schedule. We made it to the floor, ready for the votes. ...I asked him a question and there is a difference between yielding the floor and asking a question. You said you would yield to the gentleman from McKinley and we are waiting for his response. Police please lock the doors! We asked for a roll call, Mr. speaker. You've got the roll call. Held hostage. They filibustered all the time away. On purpouse. They just eat up time, blabing! That's kind of a leverage thing. They were wanting to get something from the senate. It's games! The bill dies due to filibustering. The legal process is ok if you got forever. To be farting around with slow change. The problem is on the planet now, today we need fast change. World famous solar radio K Taos 1019... K Taos national and international news from Indonesia to India. A tsunami tidal wave triggered by a massive earthquake, swept across the Indian ocean. Thousands are dead in the Indian and Andaman islands. The earthquake measured 8.9 at the Richter scale. Seismologists say the force of the explosion was about 23 000 times the power of the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima. A group of architects from the island group of Nicobar which is right in the center of where it happened asked, "Could we do anything?" And after a month since the disaster hit our islands... it is time we do much more than food and medicine distribution The need of the hour as we see it is three major components: shelter, sanitation and clean water. April 2005 Mike and 7 crew members respond to an urgent call for help from the tsunami hit Andaman Islands. Bay of Bengal, India You see it as you approach it from the boat, the tree line where the wave crashed through. You just see everything crushed and washed away, and devastation everywhere, and it's... It was brutal. How could it be much worse? An 8.9 earthquake followed by a 30 foot wave, 3/4 of the people are gone and half of them are dead. God played a game for an hour and a half in which everything is destroyed! Not very long... Not very long. It's a game of one hour. It's finished man. Nothing. And after disaster nothing remained, only dead bodies, crashed roads and buildings. Only dead bodies of children, and womans, girls. It's like a bomb hit. Concrete is shattered. There was 35 000 people, and there's 7000 left. We were just floored with the power of what we saw from nature and how it can just in an instant wipe out humanity. You are humbled by that kind of a situation. This is my house. From this place only I am alive here. So you have lost a lot of friends? All of my friends are gone. We can sit together at this place for tea. Details of the camp. Number of victims: Male 820, Female 687, total 1507 All rooms are like this. Just see this room; the same room. How can live a family in this room? Without bathroom, not the least space! This is it, nothing more! 5, 6, 7... family members are living in this room. I also got this room, but I am still sleeping in the street. How can I sleep here? I don't know who designed this, but it's not with people in mind. It's not sensible. It's a joke. This is not a solution, this is a mess. Salt water from the tsunami wave came in and flooded out all the wells. So they had no water. This is your well? Two dead bodies were inside... spoiled. The government is driving water to them in trucks, using gasoline. They are totally vulnerable, dependent creatures now. They lost everything, they basically had to start all over again from the scratch. When there is an absolute breakdown of everything, then new ideas are clutched to, like a lifesaver. You know, right now, they want thinkers, the want planners, they want people to do something. It's like, "Do something guys, it's crisis!" What we are trying to achieve is low tech shelter. But very strong for an earthquake, that uses local materials to make shelter, that catches water. And the whole bamboo structure is independent of the tyre structure, so the tyre structure could shake, and the bamboo would slip. Do you think this can withstand a 9 Richter earthquake? Yeah. It's like this. See like him. Good job there... not bad. We have seen a lot of people that have lost everything, And they are resilient. They wholeheartedly jumped on the fact, that this may be the way to keep the cool, to give them shelter and give them water, and treat sewage. There was no barriers. You go to a situation, it's been devastated, the barriers are gone. See Sheila, it's mixing well. She is great man, she keeps Phill and I fed with cement fast enough. Fully impressed man, I take them all home with me. Take our Sheila home with you! 1 rupie for a bottle. Kids were come out to help us. Locals would come out to help us. And they are catching on, they are excited about what we are doing. Do you want a small bottle or a big bottle? - Small. We got the locals making the bricks, and they are doing pretty good. Baba, do you want more mixture? I'll do that. You cut the bottles. Teach her to lay bottles like this. As if he's really going to understand you. You lay the bottles. Mami will mix the cement for you. Mami wants to lay bottles? It's called a self-sustainable house. Everything you need is built in. There's a well underneath... ...that collects all the rainwater. What is this? It's ventilation... to draw air through... under the floor and it will run over the water. And the water temperature will cool the air, so the air goes up through the house and keeps it cool. Everyone said that soil wouldn't stay on. But look, it's firm. You can see. They have a lot of rain, that they don't catch, so they have in that climate of that island everything they need. The roof was designed to collect the water and take it to gutters. Trying to get a slope at the bottom of the gutter. They have over a 100 inches of rainfall a year so there is no reason why they would even need wells in the future. All right, it catches water. They had 10 000 liters of water stored. No need for wells, absolutely. It's like two ambrellas. Stops the sun from heating the second roof. Here it doesn't take two or three sentences to these enginiers, to say... ...look, we can build out of plastic bottles, glass bottles, tyres,... They get very excited. Tell him we might make some real easy to follow step by step drawings of how to do it. It was fantastic to see something happen in 14 days... when in three years it still couldn't happen in a developed country. As opposed to a building that is flat, the force of the tsunami hitting it full on, when it's round, it's spread. Using local materials, old tires ... used bottles, empty bottles ... We had to like beg on our hands and knees to build these in America, and here... they are loving it, and want us to do it. Tremendous, it is magic... I want to make this earthship in every of our 547 islands. Very beautiful. Very beautiful and artist. Please come back and visit us again. When you see how open people are immediately after a disaster, there is a real difference in the people and opportunity here, and the people and opportunity in the west. It's almost like a disaster has to happen, to cause the rest of the world to start preparing. And then it will probably be too late. Nature... can absotutely wipe out... people. Solar radio, national and international news. America in crisis Hurricane Katrina has devastated the gulf coast. It's been described as the harshest storm in american history. People are dying, they don't have homes. The city of New Orleans will never be the same. The vast majority of New Orleans, Luisiana is under water. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses are beyond repair. August 2005 Hurricane Katrina slams into the Gulf Coast of America We are dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nations history. How can one punch from the gods collapse the richest and most highly developed society in the world? Tropical storms may be growing in overall intensity due to human induced global warming. All of a sudden the storm is not a storm. It's the end of days. It was almost getting casual. And it's no hope for that now. There's no way to get casual. It's like... An emergency. January 2006 New Mexico State Legislature Mike re-presents his bill When things get confusing, we look to what is eternal and true to give us sense of guidance. When things get chaotic, we look to what is lasting and unchanging to give us a sense of poem. The cynical Machiaveli said: That wisdom consists at being able to distinguish among dangers and making a choice of the least harmful. Katrina wiped a major US city away. After Katrina... hundreds of thousands of people ... are crying at the government, because the government is not taking care of them. This bill would allow individuals to take care of themselves with their own methods. It's like going to the people and sayin': Everybody out there... use what's in your mind... and try and come up with some better ways for us to live because we don't have enough of them right now. As soon as an environmental activist stands up and says that, it's over with. I don't think they make the connection between... natural calamities... and global warming. I think that it's a fluke. You are coming up with something that people are resistant to because they don't want to look at the problem to begin with. If you don't want to look at the problem, then why would you wanna hear about a solution. You are doing this for their children and their grandchildren. You have got to make them aware, not to scare them. So be careful what the language you use! Every time you open your mouth in the committee, it's a liability. You should know that by now. You don't wanna scare people somewhat, that they are paralysed by their fear. Because that's what this culture is. That's why Bush got into office twice. People are terrified. And it's just feeding on itself. You know, 9/11, terrorism. These are very real things, I don't mean to discount them. But the Earth is burning. I've been told not to mention anything about global warming, oil, shortages or anything. Do not use global warming as a justification for this. It's jobs, economic development, new technology... They are having some kind of a windfall because of Hurricane Katrina is affecting the revenue of the state of New Mexico. Because New Mexico is selling a lot of oil right now. The Bush administration is trying to suppress global warming science for the sake of protecting the profits of the fossil fuel industry. You can not prove global warming. As a fact, a good science can not prove global warming. It's a myth. It's not easy to face the truth, it's easier to pretend that it's not really happening. House bill 697 with emergency class, house bill 22... From the design side a lot of those projects are not very pretty. As a matter of fact a couple I've seen are downright ugly... This type of housing is not unique or new to New Mexico... I think it leaves way too much vagueness... How does this mesh with the subdivision act? It's not a cash project. Research is expensive, research costs money, we are not trying to make money. I often take years to pass bills, you work at it and in the next time it's a little bit better. Three years is actually a pretty short time to get a major law through. Politics does slowly, slowly grind things out. And that's fine if we had hundreds and hundreds of years on this planet. We have decades left on this planet of life as we know it. And american politics... is a fucking dinosaur, that is not going to make it. It's just gonna come to a grinding halt. This vote is about to close. February 2006 Mike's second attempt to introduce new legislation failed The american dream in my opinion is in the toilet. It's history. It's gone. The american dream is now, How do we survive the future? It's not having an 8 bedroom home with 11 bathrooms. It's not having a career and a lawn. And all of the amenities. It is simply how does our children and our childrens children even have a chance at life. One month later In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita March 2006 Mike and his crew build an Earthship for the hurricane victims October 2006 When the U.S. Board of Architects learns of Mike's work in the Andaman Islands... ...they invite him to reapply for his architect's licence March 2007 Mike's test site law was finally approved by the State Legislature The carbon produced during the making of this film has been compensated for with rainforest restoration projects by C Level UK 80 % of the trucks featured in this film were powered with used cooking oil Find out more about earthships here:

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour, 27 minutes and 40 seconds
Year: 2007
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Director: Oliver Hodge
Views: 1,284
Posted by: caffeine59 on Oct 5, 2010

A fight to introduce radically sustainable housing. An extraordinary tale of triumph over bureaucracy

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